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Old January 7, 2013, 05:00 PM   #1
rodfac
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Sako Mannlicher in .222 Magnum

I've been working up loads for a new to me (vintage 1966) Sako L461 Mannlicher in .222 Magnum. Midway still carries brass in that odd caliber and bullets have been no problem to date. Both Hornady and Sierra 53 gr Match HP's do extremely well...and BL-C(2) is the powder of choice so far.

The .222 Magnum case closely resembles a 5.56 mm or .223, but with a longer neck and a shoulder that's a bit farther forward. It was a fore-runner to the 5.56 mm, designed to meet Ordnance specifications when they were looking for a .22 battle rifle...the M-16. As I understand it, the round was a bit too long overall, and the Army decided on the 5.56 mm instead. Remington brought it out as the .222 Magnum, but it's been dying for many years, unable to compete with the shorter .222 and .223's.

The gun itself weighs just 7 lbs on my wife's kitchen scale, complete with a Leupold Alaskan 4x scope in Redfield mounts, and a home made sling. I've been looking for one of these L461's for many years, off and on, after trying one while in college. It's a joy to carry here on the farm, and an absolute death ray on crows. Haven't tried it on wood chucks or pigeons yet.

Initially, I was worried about the effect of a full length Mannlicher stock on accuracy, especially with that heavy steel Schnabel piece just below the front sight...but no worries as the target below will attest. Shot from a back porch rail rest with only my fore arm supported, it's undoubtedly the best group I've ever shot from that slightly precarious perch. I managed that group, 1-1/4", center to center, at 220 yds, measured. The scope's a good one, with just a 7/8" tube but clear and bright, and just right for the rifle. Wish Leupold still made them; as they're perfect on a Marlin lever gun as well...

Any body else shooting these little Sako's? This one is a peach and just right for an afternoon's walk-about.

Best regards, Rod.

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Old January 8, 2013, 02:27 PM   #2
Scorch
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Older Sako rifles have been high-priced for well over 25 years now. Great rifles, just higher priced than a comparable Rem 700, Win M70, or Ruger 77. The first 1/2" group I ever personally shot was with a Sako.
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Old January 8, 2013, 08:34 PM   #3
leadbutt
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I still run one that my father had converted to 6x47, it truly is what he called old world craftsmanship
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Old January 8, 2013, 09:53 PM   #4
jmfc606
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I just got a 222 rem mag in a 700adl carbine made in 1962 I believe. Gun is like new. I need to put a scope on it and see how it does
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Old January 9, 2013, 01:07 AM   #5
Scorch
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Quote:
I just got a 222 rem mag in a 700adl carbine made in 1962 I believe
Better re-read those codes, the Rem Model 700 was introduced in 1964.
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Old January 9, 2013, 01:14 AM   #6
PzGren
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That is a very nice L461 Sako! I have a 1962 L461 Sako Vixen in .222 Remington which is quite accurate.

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Old January 9, 2013, 06:25 AM   #7
rodfac
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Beautiful wood on that 461, PzGren, but man, I gotta tell ya', that's one ugly open rear sight out there on the barrel. My Mannlicher came with the Sako rear peep sight...a neat little deal that fits on the rear receiver dove tail. It's adj. for both windage and elevation, but obviously requires that the scope and mount (if used), be removed. It's mounted so low on the receiver, that I find that I can't get low enough with my glasses on, to make any use of it.

Thanks for the replies, guys...I've got two Sakos now...the Mannlicher pic'd above and a .308 Forester...a gift from my new bride in 1972. I've lost track of the mule deer and white tails it's killed but do have a solid memory of the three elk it has to its credit. I took that 4x Leupold off the .308 for the new Mannlicher, and replaced it with a similar sized 2.5x Alaskan. Makes for a light handy rifle in a stand or still hunting the ridges here in KY.

As to cost, Scorch...that .308 set us back a grand total of $140...Remingtons and post '64 Winchesters were going for $20-$30 less, if memory serves me well. Sometimes, you get what you pay for...sometimes ya' don't! That .308 has several thousand rounds through it, now, but will still give me an honest 1.5" gp at 100 yds with most any maker's bullet...and that medium heavy Sako bbl. is good for at least 5 rounds before heating becomes a grouping problem. I opened up the barrel channel to free float it, when first new, and found that no add'l work was necessary. It's stayed a tight grouper over all the intervening years.

All of those makers made good guns, Ruger too, (even the post '64 Winchesters in spite of their bad press); but I've had very good luck with my Sakos...good enough to have bought one for #2 son's college graduation present ten years ago...it's a .280 and nearly as close grouping as this new .222 Magnum. No doubt, they build good guns up there in Finnland. But in the interest of full disclosure, I've got to admit that both my wife and I are 1/2 Finn....coincidentally, that might just have some bearing on my affinity for their firearms.

Best Regards, Rod
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Last edited by rodfac; January 9, 2013 at 07:51 AM.
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Old January 9, 2013, 06:40 AM   #8
rodfac
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JMFC606, try Midway for brass for your Remington ADL, they've got the dies too...I wasn't able to find any, anywhere else...too, with all the post election gun violence hysteria, bullets are becoming harder to get as well. The R-P cases I got from Midway were right on the edge of being too short in head space...you might invest in one of Wilson's gauges to help you set up your dies properly. I've loaded some of my brass 6 times so far with no indication of splitting or separation. Factory ammunition in .222 Magnum is virtually non-existent; it's a reloading only proposition.

Here's a loaded round comparison: .223 vs. .222 Magnum. As you can see from the pic, you'll not be able to fire-form .223 brass into .222 Magnum...it's just too short. Buy what you need now, as this round is headed for obsolescence.

Best Regards, Rod

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USAF Forward Air Controller, 5th Spl Forces,
An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73

Last edited by rodfac; January 9, 2013 at 07:44 AM.
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Old January 9, 2013, 07:42 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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I had a Sako Mannlicher .222 Rem.
I did not get the accuracy rod reports, I wish I had bought the Varmint model instead. There were no sporters then available at the same price.

I have read of people expanding .204 Ruger to make .222 Magnum.
You won't be out of brass any time soon.
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